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Posts tagged "Mary Karr"


The Art and Humanity of Memoir: A Review of Mary Karr’s New Book

When I heard Mary Karr was publishing a new book entitled, The Art of Memoir, I was immediately certain that I’d never read it. Surely if I read this book, I’d end up burning my own recently-completed memoir because I’d realize I had done it all wrong. I’d wasted two years of my life as […]

The Same Deluded Fear Mary Karr Deals With Every Time She Writes

So much gold in Mary Karr’s new The Art of Memoir. We have a full review coming soon, but for the time being, I thought I’d post a favorite section from the chapter entitled “Blind Spots and False Selves”. (Almost all the chapter titles are ridiculously enticing, e.g. “Interiority and Inner Enemy–Private Agonies Read Deeper Than External […]

Another Week Ends: St. Paul’s Gift, Princeton’s Fifth Quintile, Biden’s Kierkegaard, Russia’s Soul, Pixar’s SadLab, and the Peak of Television

1) After the seriously powerful interview Colbert conducted with Vice President Joe Biden, Quartz did a closer look on the guiding philosophy that helped Biden endure the loss of his son Beau. If you’ve not watched the interview, well, go ahead and do that, but Biden describes a note that his wife left him on […]

What Would You Write If You Weren’t Afraid? Mary Karr on the Art of Memoir

September is always a great month for books and music, and this one is no exception. Among the many releases to be excited about is Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir. In celebration, I had planned to reference her 2009 interview with The Paris Review in a weekender, but then I (re-)read it, and Bam. […]

Best Anti-Commencement Speeches of 2015 (So Far)

Each year I make a hobby during graduation season (May/June) of paying attention to college commencement speeches. We’ve covered quite a few here on Mbird over the years. It’s a rhetorical phenomenon that sheds light on philosophies of the world that are either long on law or lame optimism about human potential: Look inside yourself, follow your heart, failure […]

The Voice of God – Mary Karr

Published last month over at Commonweal.

Ninety percent of what’s wrong with you
could be cured with a hot bath,
says God from the bowels of the subway.
but we want magic, to win
the lottery we never bought a ticket for.
(Tenderly, the monks chant, embrace
the suffering.) The voice of God does not pander,
offers no five year plan, no long-term
solution, nary an edict. It is small & fond & local.
Don’t look for your initials in the geese
honking overhead or to see thru the glass even
darkly. It says the most obvious crap—
put down that gun, you need a sandwich.

Face Down – Mary Karr

Woah. A devastating one from the new issue of The New Yorker (click here to hear her read it): What are you doing on this side of the dark? You chose that side, and those you left feel your image across their sleeping lids as a blinding atomic blast. Last we knew, you were suspended […]

Another Week Ends: Negatively Positive Thinking, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love and Friendship, Fun Families, Facebook Sociology and Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories

1. Think positive! The New Yorker this week pushes back against the “think I can” trend, famously espoused by Thomas the Train – and even in adult media, too. While it’s certain that confidence often sometimes helps (Seahawks defensiveback Richard Sherman self-imputed the title “best cornerback in the league” and subsequently grew into it), it tends to break […]

Upending the Bird (and Sleepless Newborns)

Another humdinger from Ginger M: On New Year’s Eve night, my husband and I hosted two other couples for dinner. In my husband’s family, it has been a New Year’s Eve tradition for all dinner guests to come with a question to ask to the table, preferably one pertaining to the previous year. “What was […]

Descending Theology: The Nativity – Mary Karr

She bore no more than other women bore, but in her belly’s globe that desert night the earth’s full burden swayed. Maybe she held it in her clasped hands as expecting women often do or monks in prayer. Maybe at the womb’s first clutch she briefly felt that star shine as a blade point, but […]

Short Story Wednesdays: “Winky” by George Saunders

This week we slip into the mind of George Saunders, contemporary and friend to the late DFW, and colleague of Mary Karr at Syracuse University. “Winky,” a very short story, was published here in the New Yorker for you to read in full (if you are a subscriber), or you could just buy the collection […]

The Unlikely Believer: How a Smart-Assed Intellectual Crossed the Secular/Religious Divide – Mary Karr

What an absolute delight and honor it was to meet and listen to the one and only Mary Karr at last week’s conference in NYC. Buckle your seat-belts indeed – just don’t leave the cake out in the rain:

You may download this recording by clicking here.